Yuval Rabin to Unveil Israel Peace Initiative

Son of slain prime minister and businessman Koby Huberman join forces with response to Arab plan.

Yuval Rabin, son of the late prime minister, and businessman and social activist Koby Huberman are set to launch an effort to promote an Israel Peace Initiative - a response to the Arab Peace Initiative of March 2002.

In recent months, the two men have been actively promoting their program among Israeli politicians, academics and business people. They have also unofficially explored the reactions of the Palestinian and Arab side to their initiative, due to be launched in the next few days.

The two detail their plans in an article on the Israeli-Palestinian website bitterlemons.org. They propose that instead of reacting to the Arab Peace Initiative, the Israeli government should say yes via a parallel framework for ending the conflict.

The principles of their program, published in Hebrew, Arabic and English, are as follows.

1. Establish a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines, and exchange territories based on a 1:1 ratio.

2. Jerusalem will be the capital of both countries and special arrangements will be made for the Holy Basin.

3. An agreed-on solution for the refugee problem inside the territory of the Palestinian state (with symbolic exceptions ).

4. Mutual recognition of the unique national identities of the two states - as part of negotiations and not as a precondition.

5. Emphasis on the principles of Israel's Declaration of Independence regarding civil equality for all Arab citizens.

6. Long-term security arrangements, comprising international components.

As for the Syrian track, the peace initiative proposes that Israel gradually withdraw from the Golan Heights to the 1967 borders, with a land swap in a 1:1 ratio. There would also be strict security arrangements.

The initiative also proposes security arrangements for the Lebanese border, and a security mechanism for preventing threats in the region.

In terms of economics, the program discusses regional development and a normalization of ties between states.

Rabin and Huberman conclude with the hope that the Israel Peace Initiative will spur new intensive thinking and dialogue in Israel and the region.

"More importantly, 15 years after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, we hope to see brave regional and international leaders translate the API [Arab Peace Initiative] and IPI [Israel Peace Initiative] visions into practical and synchronized progress," Rabin and Huberman write.

Before the last Israeli elections, it was reported that Yuval Rabin told Benjamin Netanyahu that he did not reject supporting the Likud leader as prime minister, and that he preferred not to live in the past.

Rabin also said he supported Netanyahu's intention to establish a national-unity government.

It may be that the current peace initiative is an expression of dissatisfaction with Netanyahu's performance in moving the peace talks forward.